Point Defiance Tacoma, Washington


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There is so much that can be said about Point Defiance Park. I have so many memories in this park. Out of all the parks I’ve ever been to in my life this one I think tops out as my most frequently visited. So much that I refer to it as my second home. I come here for business, pleasure, and exercise. Andy and I even had our wedding reception here at one of the lookout points. It’s my go to for outdoor entertainment for whatever occasion, it can be dressed up or down. The location and beauty make it that much more desirable.


Point Defiance is a large urban park in north Tacoma. Topping out at 760 acres the park includes Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. A large rose garden, rhododendron garden, Asian garden, beaches, trails, a boardwalk, boathouse (complete with small craft boat rentals, fishing derbies, a store and supplies), five mile drive, Washington State Ferries has a dock/boat here that goes to Vashon Island.

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Fort Nisqually museum is here. Be sure to stop here for a walk down memory lane and see where this fort came from and the purpose it served to the area. It’s definitely a fun expierence getting to walk through all the buildings and learn about the area in the 1930s and the Hudson Bay Company.

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An off leash dog area, tennis courts, boat launch and marina, then to top it off among all this, the old growth forest. Point Defiance receives more than three million visitors a year.  That is CRAZY!

Over the course of the past three years Point Defiance and surrounding areas have taken on a new look. A bit of a face lift for the North Tacoma area. Point Defiance will be connecting to Pointe Ruston and Ruston Way. A huge extension to the park as most of us have known it. The opening to this new connection in Tacoma will be happening this spring. I’m anxious to see the new areas and get to enjoy new views and aspects of the park. Looking for the day that Andy and I get ambitious and walk the entire water front with Point Def included.

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I have been coming to Point Def all my life. For tons of different reasons. Going to the zoo, picnics in the park or at the beach. Andy and I even had our wedding reception here as I mentioned… I bring tons of my clients here for photos many times of the year. Its a beautiful setting for a multitude of reasons. The park even offers a rental space for events. Four different areas in the park to get married. I have been there shooting a wedding once when there were three happening. The park being large enough we were never on each others toes either, so that made it nice.


I highly recommend weddings here at this location. Its beautiful, the space they offer is amazing. I would say weddings that are less than 100 guests would be ample for the pagoda space. The gardens make for a great place to take photos of the bride and groom, the wedding party and family. Then there is even the beach and forest for a large variety of different possibilities of what can be offered at the park for options when it comes to weddings and photos. Plus the location is close to many hotels and the Sea-Tac airport if you have guests coming from out of state. Its easy to find and ample parking once your at the park.

  • The flower gardens come spring and summer are so amazing. The variety of different flowers. They’re even all conveniently labeled so you will know what you’re looking at. So many different patterns and colors. Gardeners layout great color schemes and patterns to the gardens that it makes it very pleasing to the eye.  There are many different paths and ways to walk to admire all the beautiful flowers and plants. The rose garden is in a fenced area since there is wildlife at the park they try keeping them out. A lot of these flowers would make a wonderful snack. This is also one of the locations where weddings are held. Out in the grass with the beautiful landscape and lush greens and colorful flowers as the backdrop.
  • There is a duck pond complete with an island and bridges you can walk over and admire different types of water dwelling birds. The pond is also stocked with huge koi and native turtles. Go on a hot summer day and you’ll see the turtles out bathing on the rocks in the middle of the water. This pond also has fountains and a waterfall. Seasonal of course.
  • The Asian garden is where the Pagoda is. There are also a few different water features in this garden, a small waterfall and ponds with an amazing arched bridge. Makes for the most wonderful photos. Again the ponds are complete with a vaiety of koi fish.
  • Owen beach is a wonderful place to stop at and relax for the day. If you come during the summer be sure to get an early start. Parking lot gets full. If you come late in the day be prepared for a long walk down the parking lot to the beach. And remember at the end of the day when your tired, the sun got the best of you, you have to walk back up that hill to get to your car. Can be quiet the hike. The beach is wonderful. Lots of things to see on the beach, can watch fishermen out in the sound, with an occasional killer whale sighting . Watch the ferry go back and fourth to and from Vashon Island, all while soaking up an amazing view of Mount Rainier in the distance. Also during the summer months there is a concession stand that is open, and a private operator that rents out kayaks. Definitely fun for the entire family down at the beach.
  • Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is a fun place to visit also. All times of the year. They have a large variety of animals to see and events they put on. One of their more popular events is during the holidays. Zoo Lights. Definitely something you might want to take in at least once in your life. The zoo has got a few face lifts over the past ten years. Just this past year the aquarium was renovated and updated.


Here is a link for upcoming events that are scheduled to be happening at the park this year,




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